Cue sports need govt support, says Advani

Indian ace laments lack of recognition
Last Updated 17 August 2015, 19:46 IST
Expressing his disappointment on the lack of support from the government for cue sports, Indian ace Pankaj Advani said the sport was considered ‘insignificant’ since it was not a part of the Olympic programme.

“We have been winning medals consistently for years now. But looks like that’s not sufficient.

 “I think since cue sports is not an Olympic event, the central government says, ‘it’s not significant’,” said the Bengaluru player on the sidelines of a felicitation function organised by the Karnataka State Billiards Association (KSBA).

“The policies that are made are heavily loaded in favour of Olympic sports. But what’s the difference?

We all work equally hard and go through as much pain and trouble to win medals for the country and put India on the world map. So, why the discrimination?” he questioned, referring to the fact that no cueist was in the list of Arjuna awardees this year.

Advani, along with Vidya Pillai and Varsha Sanjeev were honoured for their achievements at the international stage in recent months. While Advani clinched his 13th world snooker title at the IBSF 6-Red Snooker World Championship early this month, Vidya clinched the silver at the same event. 

Cueists rewarded
The 18-year-old Varsha won the bronze at the IBSF World U-21 Snooker Championship. A gold medal wining performance was rewarded with Rs one lakh, silver received Rs 60,000, with bronze receiving Rs 25,000.

Advani recovered from an initial loss to book a place in the final, where the champion rallied from two frames down to win the title. “It feels great. The six-red format is unpredictable and it’s the shortest format of snooker and to be able to defend the title, I am satisfied,” he said.

“At the start I didn’t give myself any chance. And after losing the first match I was thinking why am I here in the first place. But, as we went on, things started changing and I was once agin back into my rhythm,” he added.

Advani also highlighted Vidya Pillai’s case with regard to the Arjuna issue. “Take Vidya's example — she’s won medals year after year — world bronze medal, World Cup team gold in 2013, a silver medal in the World 6-Red. And her name is not even on the list.”

Vidya too demanded greater recognition for her sport. “If you can honour somebody who is doing good at the Asian level, come on we are talking about the world, and it is not easy to bring medals at the world stage. “We are also consistent. I do not think why should we not be given the importance,” she said.
(Published 17 August 2015, 19:46 IST)

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